A Colorful Narrative: Bill Smith Paintings by Boyd Smith

May 9 - August 31st, 2014

In 2014 my grandfather Bill Smith Sr. turns 80 years old. As a kid, I always loved to hear stories about his life and choose him as the focus of a series of paintings. Because he has participated in various key events in history and achieved so much in his life, family and friends have always said that his life should be documented. Therefore, I decided to interview my grandfather about his life and construct a series of paintings that illustrated his narrative. I choose special moments in his life that are historic for him and America’s history. The intervals of time between each piece represent about ten years, unless specific details within a ten year period needed to be highlighted. For example, as a high school student my grandfather scored over fifty points at every basketball game. He was the first African American college athlete to play professional sports from his college, North Carolina Agricultural & Technical University (NCA&T). He even participated in the sit-ins during the Civil Rights Movement in Greensboro, NC. Through his eyes, this series illustrates how history can shape an independent life and provide stepping stones to and influence future generations like myself. After the series is complete, it will become a coffee table book, furthering the audience that can learn from Bill Smith Sr.’s experiences.

Through an exploration of depth and color in each painting, I use two different types of mediums in this series: acrylic and oil. Acrylic and oil allow me to create different textures and detail. The use of vibrant colors to create organic shapes in each painting symbolizes life, energy, and human skin tones; these colors illustrate the connections to and within the human race.    - Boyd Smith